“Haruki Murakami, a writer both mystical and hip, is the West’s favorite Japanese novelist.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

After the quake is a collection of six stories by Haruki Murakami, based on the theme of the 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan. The stories centre around emotions such as love, despair, hope, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness. However, if you’ve read Murakami, you’d know that the stories would definitely have parallel themes and often quite unusual endings. Each story intrigued me, I loved the way they progressed, and their endings left me asking for more.

The stories were widely divergent in the issues they dealt with. But, the earthquake and the different emotions it generated were nicely blended with each of the stories. The Kobe earthquake was the worst earthquake in the 20th century Japan, post the Great Kanto earthquake. It killed over 6,000 people, and 300,000 people were made homeless. The stories depicted in some way or the other, how a disaster of this magnitude affects different humans in different ways. Even people, who weren’t directly impacted, started seeing life from a new perspective after such a calamity.

UFO In Kushiro was the story of an electronics salesman who goes on a mission of delivering an unknown package to a stranger, after his wife abruptly left him.

In All God’s Children Can Dance, we meet a boy whose mother told him that he was God’s child. One day, he was convinced that he found his dad and started following him and a strange aftermath ensued.

Superfrog Saves Tokyo was about a giant frog with a grand plan, who visited an ordinary man to change the course of an entire city’s fate.

Honey Pie was one of the sweetest stories in the collection, about love, friendship, and childhood.

Landscape In Flatiron and Thailand were two of my personal favorites. I could resonate with the feelings depicted in Landscape In Flatiron, maybe because of my love for stories with a morbid touch. I could identify with the emotions depicted in the climax of this story and I absolutely loved it. The story showed how sometimes, we come close to people because of such weird similarities of circumstances.

Thailand was a beautifully crafted story about love and coping with loss.

Overall, the stories were intricately woven with a dreamlike undertone and each story was a separate journey which I loved taking with the author. This is sadly one of the lesser known works of Murakami, but if you ask me, it is in no way inferior to his more famous works. I loved it and since I’ve just started reading the author, this book fueled my desire to try more of his short stories along with his novels.
I highly recommend it to all short story lovers, Murakami fans and also to people who are contemplating on starting to read the author.

 

Reviewed by:

Kasturi Patra

Added 12th June 2015

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